UPDATE: I missed this, but apparently Pearlman wrote this up a couple of days ago.
Jeff Pearlman went on Brian Kenny’s radio show this morning and he took the retro-PED-discipline craze to new heights. He’s not just content to give Alex Rodriguez discipline mulitple-times greater than the sanctions currently in place call for, but he wants to go back and penalize Mark McGwire for taking PEDs 15 years ago when he broke Roger Maris’ home run record. The form of the discipline: fire him from his current job as Dodgers’ hitting coach and ban him from baseball.
Keep in mind, of course, that McGwire retired two years before there even was drug testing in baseball.
So why the ban? Because he “did some amazing damage … to the record book.” He broke a “sacred, sacred” record. And he was kind of a jerk to the media. Really. “He was not exactly the most gracious guy that summer … he was a pain to deal with.” That’s the argument.
Kenny didn’t go there, but I’m curious if he would ban all players ever associated with PEDs from the game or just the ones who broke records and weren’t nice to reporters. Whether this is about the ethics of cheating or merely the ethics of cheating in such a way as to make reporters feel foolish after the fact.
Give a listen:
With his team trailing 8-3 to begin the bottom of the ninth inning of Sunday’s game against the Astros, Indians third baseman José Ramirez eventually won a 17-pitch at-bat against closer Ken Giles, ripping a double off of the wall in right field. The Indians would go on to score five runs on seven hits to tie the game against Giles and Hector Rondon. Ramirez almost won the game in his second at-bat of the ninth inning, but first basebamn Yuli Gurriel made a terrific diving catch on a line drive otherwise headed for the right field corner.
Giants first baseman Brandon Belt set a new modern record for the longest at-bat last month, seeing 21 pitches against the Angels’ Jaime Barria. The Astros’ Ricky Gutierrez sfaw 20 pitches from the Indians’ Bartolo Colon on June 26, 1998, which was the previous record. Kevin Bass saw 19 pitches from the Phillies’ Steve Bedrosian in 1988. There have also been five 18-pitch at-bats from Brian Downing, Bip Roberts, Alex Cora, Adam Kennedy, and Marcus Semien.
Sunday’s game wound up going 14 innings. The Astros pulled ahead 9-8 in the top of the 13th on a solo home run from Evan Gattis. However, the Indians’ Yonder Alonso responded with a solo shot of his own in the bottom of the 13th to re-knot the game at 9-9. Greg Allen then lifted a walk-off solo homer in the bottom of the 14th to give the Indians a 10-9 win.
After Sunday’s effort, Ramirez is batting .292/.389/.605 with 15 home runs, 37 RBI, 34 runs scored, and seven stolen bases. According to FanGraphs, his 3.5 Wins Above Replacement ranks third across baseball behind Mike Trout (4.4) and Mookie Betts (4.1). They’re the only players at three wins or above.